The Bouldering Guide for Beginners - Where to Start?

The Bouldering Guide for Beginners - Where to Start?


Bouldering is a form of rock climbing paired down to its most basic elements- it’s a great physical workout! You will be protected by pads rather than ropes and harnesses. And, you will climb short sequences that are challenging boulder "problems”. They aren’t necessarily high like rock climbing, but you will need climbing shoes, balance, technique, strength, and intuition. Now you know what bouldering is, let's learn how to do it.

It‘s easy to get started, anyone can do it! Although, bouldering does necessitate a certain level of expertise to get the most out of the experience. To help you, we've put together a comprehensive guide that shares bouldering tips to ensure beginners are prepared with some know-how- making your first experience more enjoyable!

10 Bouldering Tips for Beginners to Follow

1. Use the strength in your legs

Leg muscles are among the largest in your body and using them to your advantage can help you overcome any obstacle. You don't have to rely solely on your arms to pull your body weight. To be as efficient as possible, you will sometimes need to depend on your legs to give an extra push.

Before you start your bouldering training, you can work towards building the muscle in your legs to prepare yourself. Start with some regular squats and lunges.

2. Use your toes

Whilst climbing, don’t be afraid to use your toes- it will improve your movement and technique. Beginners often use their midsole which is going to restrict movement. When you go on the tip of your toes, you will not only have the increased flexibility of rotating your foot, but you will have a greater overall reach.

3. Make sure your hips stay close to the wall

When you’re just starting bouldering, it's natural for hips to sway away from the wall. With some practice, you’ll soon learn that this is poor technique and making it difficult as it adds more weight to your forearms. If you keep your hips close to the wall, you will allow your leg muscles to hold more of your weight. As leg muscles are biologically larger, thus stronger, you’ll be able to move more efficiently.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you’re a beginner practicing in a bouldering environment, it's likely there will be more experienced climbers around you. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, take inspiration, and get to know them- your climbing skills will improve a lot faster. They’ll have an abundance of bouldering tips and advice to share with you that they have acquired over the years.

5. Don’t be afraid to fall

Falling is all a part of the bouldering experience. Don’t let it get you down. Instead, use it as motivation to train harder and improve yourself. Learn from your mistakes and better your climbing skills. If you’re worried about hurting yourself as a beginner, start in an indoor environment as they will be equipped with safety mats to ease your fall.

6. Keep your arms straight

Whilst climbing take notice of the form of your arms- try to keep them straight! If you constantly climb with bent arms, you’ll use a lot more energy and start to feel tired quicker. With each move, you'll be activating your forearms, biceps, and shoulders. Instead, a straight arm will help evenly distribute your weight across your body.

7. Invest in a pair of climbing shoes

Your climbing shoes can make or break your bouldering performance. You need to make sure they fit correctly. If they are too big you won't be able to use your toes properly. And if they are too small, you will be seriously uncomfortable.

8. Take regular breaks

Bouldering requires a lot of strength and you’ll be putting your muscles under a lot of pressure. Don’t work yourself too hard too soon. It's important you take a regular rest for your own safety- especially as a beginner. You need recovery time, or you’ll become tired and your strength will start to wear down. When you’re not on top form, you run the risk of falling. Injury is not something you want to take home with you.

9. Have fun and be patient!

As a beginner, the greatest method to improve strength and confidence is to focus on climbing and enjoying the experience. Building the muscles required to be an experienced climber, takes a considerable amount of time to develop. Patience is essential. With some hard work, determination, and practice, you’ll soon be an expert.

10. Share the wall

It's important you learn beginner bouldering etiquette and share the wall. Always be polite and take turns. If there is a multitude of people climbing, make sure you move out of the path if you happen to fall. And if the climb you want to do overlaps with others, wait until it is clear.

What You’ll Need to Get Started Bouldering

Don’t worry, you don’t need any expensive equipment, just a reliable pair of climbing shoes and some chalk for your hands. If you’re wondering why climbers chalk their hands, it is to improve grip and friction.

Once you become confident indoor bouldering, you may decide it's time to move to an outdoor environment. Then, it's advised to invest in climbing clothing to protect you against the weather, regulate body temperature, and ensure you’re comfortable. Comfort and durability is important and can help improve your performance.

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Need More Climbing Advice?

If you are keen to start climbing whether it's bouldering or rock climbing, make sure you visit our guides hub and blog to find more help and advice to prepare for your next adventure. Preparation is the key to your performance.